Classical Fun

High school students delve into topics ranging from Roman tattooing to volcanology at Reed's annual Latin Forum.

December 4, 2019

Reed’s annual Latin Forum got underway in November. Kevin Dicus, assistant professor of classics at the University of Oregon, gave the keynote address. An archeologist specializing in the mid- to late-Republican period, he spoke about “When Humans Become Artifacts: inventing and displaying body casts at Pompeii.”

Established in 1987, the classics department has sponsored this forum on Rome for high school students and teachers of Latin for 32 years. High school students and teachers from around the Northwest gather to explore topics related to the culture and literature of the early Romans in seminars led by Reed faculty. Dean of the Faculty, Prof. Nigel Nicholson notes that the forum is “an exciting venue for discussing classical topics, getting a taste of college life, and meeting other classics students.”

Seminars this year investigated topics ranging from Roman tattooing to magical practice in the Roman world to Roman volcanology. Professor Emeritus Wally Englert, who taught a course on how to speak like a Roman orator, notes that the program challenges students “to think about Romans as remarkable people who dealt creatively with many of the same issues that face us today.”

This year’s forum drew about 125 students, 11 teachers, and 20 parent guests. For more information, contact Barbara Amen, director of graduate and special programs.